Tulipomania for reading groups

About the book

Tulipomania by Mike Dash

Visitors to the prosperous trading cities of the Netherlands could not help but notice, in the 1630s, that thousands of normally sober, hardworking Dutch citizens from every walk of life were caught up in an extraordinary frenzy of buying and selling. The object of this unprecedented speculation was the tulip, a delicate and exotic Eastern import that had betwitched horticulturalists, noblemen, and tavern owners alike. A trade in tulips soon evolved, and for almost a year, rare bulbs changed hands for incredible and ever-increasing sums, until single flowers were being sold for more than the cost of a house. Historians would call it the tulipomania.

This is the history of the tulip, from its origins on the barren, windswept steppes of central Asia to its place of honour in the lush imperial gardens of Istanbul, to its starring moment as the most coveted – and beautiful – commodity in Europe. Mike Dash vividly narrates the story of this amazing follower and the colourful cast of characters whose lives were inextricably entwined with it.’